Last week I brought up a curious phenomenon I and some friends have been noticing on certain social media platforms, where persons or accounts being operated by some persons — perhaps of dubious authenticity — seem to be try to trigger negative commentary in enthusiast group postings. Oddly, this is happening in music and audio groups on one of the biggest social media platforms. If you missed part one of this thought piece, please click here to catch up.
That discussion also ties into a related side topic I’ve certainly seen even in the pre-social media era: the whole notion of the audiophile as the be-all-end-all expert. I often find some of the comments people make at times embarrassing, disrespectful to others, often laughable and frequently self-serving. Hold on to those thoughts for a moment…
Now, I am quite up front that I am not the “world’s greatest” audiophile and in fact I pride myself in being something of the “everyman audiophile,” if you will. I love good equipment that sounds good yet that won’t break the bank nor require a dedicated listening hall just to house the gear.
I also love finding great music that sounds great to play on these systems. Part of my appreciation for the music I love comes from a solid basic understanding of how it is made. When I was a little kid I got my first tastes of live rock ‘n’ roll by hanging out watching my older brother’s high school cover band practice, seeing them perform and experiencing how the whole sound came together.
Later when I had my own bands I put in long hours setting up my own home studio, asking questions, learning from mistakes and celebrating triumphs. When we went into professional recording studios to make albums and demos, my experience base expanded further still. Not all of our recordings were great but there are some I’m especially proud of. And it did give me a greater appreciation for what my musical heroes have accomplished both in the high fidelity realm and everything else betwixt and between.
Going back to the earlier example I brought up in Part 1 of this article where someone made the comment that none of Bruce Springsteen’s records sound any good, broad statements like that most times lack credibility and appear questionable at best. Writing off Bruce Springsteen’s early albums because they were made in a small studio — or even his big breakthrough Born To Run — which deliver a raw earthy sound simply because they are not audiophile worthy is short sighted and closed minded. Now, there’s no question in my mind that Bruce has made some questionable sounding, and even harsh, productions in the digital era – I’ve gone on record almost praying that his terrific album Magic gets a full remix because it sounds terrible from even my everyman audiophile perspective. Even listening in the car it sounds wonky!
But many, if not most, of Bruce’s records can sound terrific if you have a good copy of the recordings and decent equipment to play it on. These are fun rock records designed to be played at full volume with powerhouse drums, ripping guitars, honking saxophones and often epic arrangements that take the listener on a journey.
I often want to ask people who make ridiculous blanket statements what the basis is for their comment? Usually I tend to not do that because I don’t have time and I frankly do not enjoy when a generally enthusiastic thread of discussion morphs into some sort of ugly forum-style war. There are other spaces on the Internet where audiophiles can go to chest thump with brazen bravado. I steer clear of certain noted forums for that reason.
Heck, I even recently deleted an entire thread from my Facebook page simply because people were getting stupid and ugly at my expense (and one was even promoting their own agenda on my page which I found quite off-putting — if I tried doing something like that on that person’s page I’d probably get reported or at least yelled at virtually).
So at the end of the day, I urge you to think twice about what you’re commenting on and about. Look at who is making the comment and make sure it is real and worth your while to response. Also, if you are responding, really think through your response and whether you want a discussion to escalate into something negative.
You might just want to bite your virtual lip and say nothing like I sometimes do…
Peace to you all.